Jump to content

Pack Up Your Troubles

Followers 0

Recommended Posts

OK.......here is my typical BM hunting kit. Being the type that likes the long, mountain top hikes and needing to be prepared, I generally carry the following:






1) Vietnam era load bearing suspenders and web belt with butt pack, two canteens, survival knife and first aid kit.

2) Weather radio

3) Walkie-talkies

4) Military lensatic compass

5) Home made 13 inch probe

6) Mini entrenching tool

7) Magellan SportTrak Topo GPS

8) Boot knife

9) Pock-its with Super Leatherman, flashlight and scissors


Not shown: Bush style vest or jacket (lots of pockets!), Hiking staff, digital camera (needed to take this pic), a CamelBac for the longer hikes, Analog range finder and binoculars.


Needed: A good steel tape!


Edited P.S. :

The butt pack keeps my load LOW and helps to walk upright. It is usually loaded with a spare cheap compass, extra batteries, peanuts, beef jerkey, rags, rope, a spare shirt, a survival guide, a first aid guide and assorted nick-nacks that the day and hike may call for.

Edited by Spoo
Link to comment

We don't have a picture of our gear, just a list.



Some of the things we have in the truck all the time.



metal probe (pointed rod for poking into the sand and dirt) (updated to a BIG screwdriver because it has a decent handle)

metal detector (for known buried benchmarks)

water (warm weather only) (for cleaning off the disks so they can be read)

Gojo (hand cleaner)

paper towels (for wiping the mud off the disks)

100 foot tape measure

small broom/brush (whisk type broom)

AA battery charger that has a DC adapter (nice to have freshly charged batteries)

flashlight or 2 or 3 (and extra batteries)


Stuff we keep in the house and cart back and forth.




camera (ours is a digital camera)

extra batteries

laptop computer and power adapter

special maps if needed


Many of the items in the truck do double duty and get used for other activities, also.


Just start out light and add items as you find that they would be handy to have along. If you're going to be doing 'intersection stations' then a shovel and probe are not needed for that excursion. If the weather has been dry, then a small broom to clean off the benchmark should suffice for getting a good picture. As you find more benchmarks you will see a pattern to the items that help and those that just take up space.


John & Shirley

Link to comment

I collect a lot of equipment in the car, and put the most likely gear in a backpack for excursions away from the road. I've got a lot of stuff that I don't really use much.


Don't leave home without:

Data sheets on clipboard, spare pencils

100 ft nylon tape

Pin to hold other end of tape

Dandelion digger tool (well it used to be before I wore the points

off digging in gravel)

Sportsman's atlas (every road in the state, land section numbers)


Paper towels (or fast food napkins) and/or rags


Other useful stuff:

Benchmark photo album with email from NGS thanking me

for submission (along with data sheet, shows good intentions)


Hatchet (drives stakes, cuts roots)

GPS receiver


Garden trowel

Metal detector (Radio Shack middle grade)

Long probe (weed cutter handle, like golf club)

Flagging tape

Marking chalk

Folding rule (inches and decimal feet)




Weather radio

Leather gloves

Pruning snips (added to try on berry bushes next season)

Chore boots (for wet ditches)

Garbage bags (also good for kneeling on wet ground)


Bug repellant

Alcohol wipes

Did I mention batteries?

Sometimes my battery tester.


Rarely used:

Compass (not necessary in a public land survey and

rectangular-road area like here)

Cornstarch in a film can for highlighting lettering

Carburator cleaner solvent (for painted benchmarks)

Plumb bob

Inclinometer (on a cheap ruler, for tilted posts)

Entrenching tool

Camper's folding saw

Pocket multi-tool

First aid kit


Wish I had:

Handheld sighting level


Maybe I overdoing this preparedness thing a little?

Link to comment



Monument dust.*


Cell phone (with the GPS locator function activated).


Extra ball point pen.




Roll of survey tape--red or orange.**



*Scientific name: Corn Starch.


**Useful for marking the main station so you can keep it in sight while searching for the reference marks. (I carry a black magic marker and write GEOCAC and the date on the tape--for no particular reason except to brag and advertise.)

Link to comment

Geez, do I feel inadequate. My kit pretty much fits in a fanny pack and includes a camera (Canon A-60, 2 mpx), compass, 12- and 100-foot tape measures (steel and fiber-something respectively), a couple of small bungee cords (useful for securing one end of the tape measure to a pole or tree), couple of ratty screwdrivers for probing, marking getting into things, etc., couple of small thick (terry) rags, and pruning shears (my single favorite, all-purpose tool good for triming around culverts, overgrown monuments, and similar tasks). I have a hardhat in the car, which I try to wear on roadsides (though stupidly I don't have a safety vest; I really should). I prefer NGS printouts; others like the geocaching.com pages. I put 'em on a white plastic clipboard. Not as official-looking as the aluminum ones, but it provides extra visibility and a way to bounce light into hard-to-photograph areas.


No metal detector, no flagging, no chalk (or flour or corn starch), no laptop.


Bill93 says he uses carburator cleaner solvent (rarely, for painted benchmarks). The question of cleaning disks comes up from time to time. I think the consensus is, don't. Use a brush (nylon or natural, not metal) and water, but nothing more. A cleaning solvent is unlikely to do serious damage immediately, but it could remove the natural oxidation and protective patina that helps them last many decades.


Having said that, I once saw a beautiful disk (in Fredericksburg, VA, I think) that was probably Brasso-ed every week. It really shone!



Link to comment

I don't think the solvent does any damage. It does not react with metal, and probably does not react with a metal oxide layer either. It does not leave the disk looking etched, nor any brighter than the rubbing done would produce.


It dissolves organic material, e.g. oil paint. It does it best if you soak a piece of cloth or paper and cover the disk, then cover that with plastic or foil to slow down the evaporation. After 5 minutes a lot of the paint rubs off with a rag. It may take a couple applications if there are many layers of paint.


Any other approach to making the disk readable, such as just rubbing with anything coarse enough to attack paint, seems to me very likely to damage the disk surface.

Link to comment

OK, I started this thread I guess it is time for me to participate!




Some random stuff, including my cheap metal detector, a container of powder to make marks visible (rarely used--I usually forget I have it), a new shovel I am thinking will be too heavy, but won't break as quickly as the last two did, my probe, which is a Wal-mart camp fork with the tines broken off--I often do that on my way out of the store and throw them in their trash cans. I keep at least two of these in the car at all times because once you have hit something hard with it and bent it, it bends very easily after, so it is a pain to use), my NEW, improved Bass Pro Shop camp fork, still untested, with tines still on. It is longer, sturdier and has a thicker handle. I have high hopes for it, a brush (I have gone through 3 of these so far. Once I lost, one I broke), and a benchmark I retrieved from a destroyed monument that I use for setting up my metal detector.




Lots of smaller stuff... two tapes. One is a new meter/feet one from Harbor Freight. It is very cheap, but will be good when the description is only in meters or to measure reference marks from the box score without converting. It is also a bit longer. My backpack, which I swiped from one of my kids, my GPSr and beanbag carmount, which I swear by (yeah, it falls off once in a while, but I drive kinda crazy), two compasses, both cheap, but both servicable, my old metal detector-a kid's one from National Geographic, usable but not great, a bright orange screwdriver for marking locations for pics and for measurements, a few spikes for holding the tape end down and for marking spots (I painted them orange to be seen easily but they have worn back to un-orange), Goop, to clean my hands after a dirty hunt, a pen, for when I get to a mark and decide I need to make corrections to the description, and my XM radio, without which I would go crazy on some longer days. At the bottom is an old t-shirt for general cleaning use--benchmarks, me, etc. And in the middle is Tecnu, which is more valuable than water sometimes. Tecnu claims to be able to remove the oil from poison ivy vines up to 8 hours after contact. I keep one in my pack and one at home. I have had two MAJOR cases of poison ivy due to benchmark hunting that have landed me at the doctor, so now I don't take chances.




My paper collection, including all marks in 5 local counties, plus 20 topo maps of my area. Inside each topo map are the sheets of marks within that map.




My Blackberry, which I take everywhere because of work. I use it to access a small web page to allow me to look up benchmarks I haven't printed out. It is a half-attempt to become paperless, but I use it more for marks outside my general area, such as when I take a trip somewhere.


With the exception of the GPSr, camera and Blackberry, all the above stuff stays in the car.


For the most part I want to be able to carry this stuff on my back. The metal detector is an exception, but I won't take it to the top of a mountain with me, despite the possibility that I will be sorry that I didn't. I keep it in the car and return for it if I need it. I throw the backback on, grab the camp fork and GPSr and head out.

Edited by mloser
Link to comment

You guys have way too much equipment. I limit myself to the basics, a handy trowel and a GPS unit:






Seriously, I carry:

  • Garmin GPSmap 60cs (handy for navigating unknown back roads)
  • Three-ring binder for organizing pre-printed datasheets in the car
  • Clipboard for carrying a single datasheet to the station
  • Digital camera with belt case
  • Brunton 8040G compass
  • Leather gloves (lots of thorny bushes around here)
  • Pruning shears (again, for those thorny bushes)
  • Long-shank #2 phillips screwdriver probe
  • Plastic salt shaker with snap lid for monument dust
  • Paper towels
  • Orange mesh safety vest
  • 165 foot fiberglass tape
  • Keson measuring wheel (I use this more often than the tape)
  • Spare batteries for GPS
  • Cell phone for unforeseen circumstances

Link to comment

It isn't a matter of who has the most toys. (He who dies with the most toys is STILL dead.) It is a matter of your application. As I stated, I like the mountain hikes. You know, 6-8 hrs of wilderness in the hopes of finding a mark. I just need to be prepared for emergencies by myself or with just one or two people in a remote location.


Obviously, If I am hunting in a city, I would not need a couple of knives, canteens and survival food.


Well.....OK......maybe here in Maine I would. Hmmmm....maybe you guys in NY, NJ or DC need to also.


EDIT NOTE: Besides, I just want to know what you folks have discovered that I can use......like that Tecnu that mloser has shown. I think I could use that.

Edited by Spoo
Link to comment

Hmm. My set is also pretty simple. I have a compass, paper printouts off Geocaching (and NGS if there's reference marks/reference ties listed or other info), an extra set of batteries, garden trowel and GPS unit (Magellin 200). I usually bundle the datasheets together by 10s (that's what my stapler can handle), and take 30-40 out on a morning run. I keep meaning to get more equipment, but the lines of marks I've been going after recently have almost all been there, so...


Holograph's shovel might be useful...hmmm.

Edited by BuckBrooke
Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Followers 0
  • Create New...